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Trustee raises concerns about project

Says VLTs pose temptation for high school students

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A member of the Seven Oaks School Division’s board of trustees is concerned about the impact a proposed new restaurant and VLT lounge could have on students at nearby Garden City Collegiate.


Boris Kravets has applied to the city to rezone a building at 675 Jefferson Ave. to make way for a restaurant and lounge. His $1.2 million proposal also includes a food store, outdoor patio, and five second-storey apartment units.


Trustee Richard Sawka, who lives in the area, said he is concerned the VLTs could attract Garden City students during school hours.


"The restaurant and store are great for the area, but I am unhappy with the VLT lounge," he said.


Kravets said he doesn’t expect his proposal to create any problems for the neighbourhood. He said the lounge is scheduled to have just two VLTs.


Sawka said he remains concerned about the operation regardless of the number of machines that are installed in the lounge.


"By June there will be 150 students of legal age that will be able to cross the street to drink and gamble during the school day," he said, adding the division may have to provide students with additional information about the dangers of gambling.


Sawka said he plans to bring up the matter at the next meeting of the Seven Oaks School Board.


"We try to educate our kids on the dangers of alcohol and gambling and the city is allowing a VLT lounge to open a few short steps from the school," he said. "It is counterproductive to what we are trying to teach."


Students spoken to said they don’t expect the restaurant and lounge will have much of an impact on their daily lives.


"If I was underage and wanted to go drinking, I wouldn’t do it beside the school," said Adam, who preferred not to give his last name. "That wouldn’t be too bright."


Another student, Christy, added she doesn’t think "teachers would want to be seen having a beer during lunch either."


Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) said the project is an excellent example of what can be done to reinvigorate existing building stock within Winnipeg. He praised the fact that it incorporates both residential and commercial development.

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rob.brown@canstarnews.com

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